The 1972 Saint-Jean-du-Gard Humanoid Encounter – One Of Many UFO Incidents From France

Marcus Lowth
Published Date
September 24, 2022
Estimated Reading Time
16 min read
Posted in
Aliens, Encounters

France is a country that has more than its fair share of UFO encounters on record, including several waves. However, an encounter in Saint-Jean-du-Gard in the early 1970s is perhaps little-known even in UFO circles is perhaps one of the most intriguing. Not only does it feature a probable sighting of a presumed extraterrestrial vehicle, but featured a strange, albeit brief interaction between the possible occupant of that craft.

A depiction of aliens

There are many alleged alien encounters from France

What’s more, there are several other unsettling and thought-provoking encounters that unfolded in France in the seventies, some of which are almost certainly alien abduction encounters. And while we don’t have time to examine each and every one of those incidents, we will certainly look at some of the most interesting ones.

The encounter in Saint-Jean-du-Gard entered the wider public arena largely thanks to the research and investigation of Jean-Paul Guguen, who discovered a tape recording taken by one of the witness’s students when the witness spoke to him of what they had seen, It is from that recording that the following encounter is based.

A Strange Figure That Projected A “Morbid Fear!”

According to the recording, in the early hours of 9th August 1972, at around 2:30 am in Saint-Jean-du-Gard, a married couple, both professors, were camping when their trip took a dramatic and remarkable turn. The main witness had ventured outside of the tent as she had heard some kind of commotion taking place – likely connected to a festival taking place nearby, she reasoned – and wanted to investigate.

It was as she was surveying her surroundings that she noticed a white ball of light ahead that was approximately the size of a car. The more she looked at it, however, the more perplexed she became, not least due to the intense shine the ball gave off. When she located the area the light was – a car park reserved for those camping in the area – she further believed she was looking at some bizarre glow to an otherwise normal road vehicle. It was as she was looking at this sight in front of her that she heard “odd footsteps” coming from behind her.

She noted from the sound and pace of them that they appeared to be from a young child. Instinctively, she turned to where the sound of the steps was coming from. As she did so, she noticed a black figure had turned toward her. As it was dark, she could make out few details, other than an ovoid-shaped head and two large eyes. She also realized its legs were covered by the long grass.

A sudden “morbid fear” washed over her – a feeling that she recalled was “not natural”. She would elaborate that this fear appeared to have been projected onto her by this strange figure, as if in an attempt to “neutralize” her. Even stranger, it appeared as though whatever this creature was, it appeared that it “exerted an extraordinary power on all that surrounded it”, adding that “nature appeared dead, or frozen around it”.

At this point, she turned around and headed toward the tent to join her husband, Michel. Perhaps bizarrely, she went straight to sleep, only truly contemplating the bizarre nature of the events she had witnessed.

Something Outside The Tent

Upon waking the following morning, the witness immediately made a connection between the glowing “car” and the strange figure she had witnessed while outside her tent. Although both she and Michel agreed they should not speak publicly about it, they did wish to find out if any other campers or residents of nearby villas had witnessed the strange events.

For the most part, nobody had seen anything strange, and many insisted to them that all they had seen was likely reflections from a bright motorcycle headlight. One of the villa residents, however, claimed she had seen, or rather heard, something strange the previous night at around the same time as the witness saw the strange glowing object. This woman claimed that she had “heard (something) walking on her terrace”. What was particularly interesting is that the woman’s property was no more than 100 feet from the witness’s tent.

Unfortunately, the woman didn’t look outside to investigate who the strange prowler might have been, in fact, she claimed she simply went straight back to sleep. Assuming that she did hear something outside and it wasn’t just the remains of a dream, it is almost certain that there is a connection to the strange experience of the witness.

From there, the case could have gone cold. However, Guguen managed to track down the two witnesses. And, two years after they happened, they spoke once more about the events of that evening.

“Nature Had Stopped Living!”

Guguen would ask the woman to recall the bizarre night once more. She recalled that when she first sensed movement behind her, she thought it might have been her husband leaving the tent to join her. She stated that although she couldn’t see the details of the strange figure, she was immediately certain that “there was life in” it. Furthermore, she wasn’t sure if the figure had turned toward her coincidentally, or whether it was actually looking at her, elaborating there was “simply a head turned towards me”.

Perhaps of more intrigue was how she described the change in atmosphere, as if “something (had) occurred”, adding that it appeared that “nature had stopped living”. In total, she returned to the tent no more than 15 seconds after first noticing the figure.

Michel’s recollections of that evening are equally enthralling. He would recall that he was awake in the tent when his wife suddenly rushed in, entering with “an enormous jump”. As she did so she blurted out that she had “just seen something terrible, (and) dreadful”. He would recall that he realized immediately that his wife must have seen “something out of the ordinary”.

When he was asked why he didn’t go out to investigate what might be outside, he recalled that he simply didn’t have the courage to do so, not least due to how “deformed by fear” his wife’s face was. Instead, they both decided the best thing to do was to remain exactly where they were.

The witness recalled that they were particularly concerned that any sudden movements they might make through fright could be interpreted as a threat by this dark humanoid figure.

They then told how they ventured out to where she had seen the strange figure the previous evening, as well as to where she witnessed the glowing ball of light. In the location where the figure was standing, they could see a patch of grass that had clearly been pressed down. There were, however, no signs of anything untoward having taken place in the car park.

Guguen then asked if the woman saw the strange figure again as if she would attempt to interact with it more than she had done, to which she said she most certainly would, adding that she believed she wouldn’t experience the same sense of fear, particularly if this speculative encounter were to take place in daylight.

The sighting, however, remains a complete mystery. It is, though, just one of many that occurred in France during the late sixties and early seventies.

Many Other Sightings Years Before

Five years previously, according to the research files of Jacques Vallee, at around 11 pm on 6th January 1967 in Aveyron, a local resident reported seeing “six luminous spheres” cutting across the night sky. Even more remarkable, a “luminous shaft of light” emerged from the underside of one of the aerial vehicles and stretched down toward the ground. When the witness looked toward this column of light he could see a humanoid figure standing within it. Perhaps bizarrely, the witness received a telepathic message from this being, informing him that he will write a book at some point in the future.

Only five nights alter, in the same region on the 11th of January, a local farmer witnessed a bizarre object shaped like a shell rising into the air from one of his fields. He then noticed a strange ball of light approximately 500 feet in front of him. He jumped into his car and proceeded to pursue the light. However, before he could reach it the car’s engine and headlights suddenly cut out. A moment later, he noticed a “saucer-shaped” object coming out of the sky, eventually stopping several feet above the ground, approximately 60 feet away.

When the witness focused on this strange object, he noticed that there were two domed sections on the top of the object, in each of which stood a humanoid figure, both wearing one-piece green coveralls. Suddenly, a strange wave of heat passed over him and he felt he was momentarily paralyzed.

A whistling sound came from the object and it rose into the air, stopping at an altitude of around 150 feet. It remained there for several moments before descending back down to where it had been previously. This time, it began to glow a bright, brilliant yellow. Then, a moment later, it shot into the night sky and disappeared. A moment later, the car’s headlights and the engine returned to life. The witness would recall that he had a great deal of difficulty sleeping for several days after the incident.

At just before 10 pm on 5th February 1967, in Sauvigny-les-Bois L’Yonne, 49-year-old Louis Monin was standing outside his house when he witnessed a glowing yellow object descending toward a cemetery a short distance away. He immediately called out to his teenage granddaughter, Marie, so that she witnessed the bizarre object too.

As the strange aerial vehicle approached, they could see that it was a cigar shape and was changing color to an orange-red glow. Ultimately it landed around 100 feet away from their property. They estimated that it was approximately 60 feet long and around 20 feet high. They watched as flames suddenly appeared at each end of it reaching toward the ground. At the same time, they could each hear a crackling sound, as if the vegetation below was burning.

Then, the next thing they realized, a strange humanoid figure, approximately three to four feet tall, appeared next to the object. At this point, the pair rushed inside to get further members of the household. However, by the time they had returned, the humanoid and the object were gone. When they looked skyward, they could see what they presumed to be the object which now appeared like a red dot in the night sky.

Another sighting from France in 1967 comes to us from the research files of Joel Mesnard and Jaen Marie Bigorne, on a farm just outside Chenou Seine et Marne when a farmer witnessed a saucer-shaped object hovering a short distance above the ground in one of his fields. Much like previous sightings, he could see several humanoid figures in a domed section on the top of the object.

In the summer of 1967, on 17th July in Arc-sous-Cicon, according to the researcher, Eric Zurcher, several children witnessed several strange humanoid figures, each dressed in a strange kind of black suit and who appeared to move without touching the ground. When the area the figures were witnessed was later examined, there was the discovery of a burnt area of grass in the shape of a circular. They also found several small footprints in the dirt. Interestingly, almost identical beings were spotted by farmworkers a short distance away several days earlier.

A Strange Object Appearing Out Of The Clouds

There were also some intriguing sightings in France of anomalous aerial objects the following year in 1968. In April, for example, just off the coast of Le Brusc, Var, several fishermen witnessed a bizarre object suddenly appear out of the clouds. [1] According to the report, the three fishermen were a significant distance from the coast in unsettled weather when they noticed a sudden “break in the clouds”. In this break was an oval-shaped “thing” that was simply hovering motionless.

It remained in the same position for around 15 minutes, at times, changing color and appearing to send out several “pinkish flashes”, before it began moving slowly. As it moved away it began to descend gently. It eventually came to a stop, hovering over the sea for several minutes. Then, it appeared to have simply vanished. The witnesses were not sure if it had vanished into the distance or if it had disappeared beneath the waves. The object remained completely silent throughout the entire episode, and produced “no trail, no flame, no sparks” and had no insignia or any kind.

Several weeks later, at around 9 am on 31st July over Reunion Island in the Indian Ocean, according to a report in Volume 15, No. 1 edition of Flying Saucer Review, a 31-year-old farmer was picking vegetation in woodland when he noticed an oval-shaped object hovering a short distance off the ground in a clearing around 80 feet ahead of him. He recalled the object was a blue color and appeared to become lighter toward the middle of the object, almost as if it was transparent like a window.

In this window-type section, he could see two humanoid figures that he recalled appearing similar to the Michelin Man. One of the figures turned around toward him before turning his back to him once again. A moment later, several bright flashes came from the object that surrounded the witness with intense bright white light. The next thing he felt a strong, heated “sort of blast of wind” wash over him. Then, everything stopped, and the object had disappeared.

Similar Encounters In The Years That Followed

There were also several strange encounters throughout France in the years that followed the encounter in Saint-Jean-du-Gard. At around 1 am on 26th November 1973 somewhere between Mairiaux and Maubeuge, according to the research files of Jean Mesnard and Jean Marie Bigorne, a man and a woman witnessed bizarre events while in their car. It was a short time after they had parked their car at the side of the road when they noticed a strange metallic object standing in one of the nearby snow-covered fields.

They estimated it was around 300 feet from them, and approximately 50 feet in width. They continued to watch the object, noting how every now and again an opening of sorted appeared on the side of the object. Even stranger, out of this opening, various different figures emerged.

The first of these was around four feet tall with large heads and particularly large eyes. They each wore the same styled tight one-piece suits and had arms that were much longer and out of proportion. They each carried a strange box and they moved with an awkward stiffness and appeared to be searching the ground below them, moving closer to the road as they did so until they were around 50 feet from the two witnesses.

By the time, two other figures had appeared behind the first set, these looked decidedly more human with particularly pale complexions but each wearing the same tight-fitting suit as the smaller entities who had appeared first. Even more bizarre, was a third figure that had appeared behind the human-looking beings. This one appeared to remain in a squatting position near the entrance of the object and had arms that appeared to “dangle” and was covered in dark fur. The witnesses later claimed that this creature appeared like “a bear or great ape”.

The two witnesses, each shocked at the scene unfolding before them, began to become more concerned when the first set of creatures began approaching their car. At this point, the woman became overwhelmed with fear and left the car, running to her own vehicle which was parked a short distance away.

The man remained in the car, and watched with relief as the smaller creatures’ advancement came to a sudden halt. Then, beginning with the ape-like creature, followed by the two humans, all of the strange figures returned inside the craft. After they were inside, the object began to glow brightly before it rose into the air and took off into the distance at great speed. When the field where the object was stood were examined “strange tracks” were found in the snow.

An Abduction Encounter On A Lonely Forest Road

Three years later, at around 6:30 pm on 10th December 1976 in Janaillat near Limoges, 68-year-old Antonia was driving home through a small wood when the entire area lit up with a strange, bright white light. It appeared as if the source of the light was just around a curve in the road, and following her following the road this was confirmed to her. She could see a disc-shaped glow – which she assumed was a solid craft – hovering motionless a short distance above the road. She estimated the object was around 30 feet wide and approximately six feet in height and easily covered the entire road from side to side.

When she was a little over 50 feet from it she brought her vehicle to a stop. She put the car into reverse in an attempt to back away from this mysterious object. However, try as she might, the car continued to move slowly forward. Before it reached the object it then, of its own accord, turned to the right, eventually becoming caught between the object and the rock side of the road. It was then that her head was “forcibly turned to the left” where she saw another light approaching the vehicle.

A moment later, she felt a sudden burst of pain in her skull and several seconds later, a humanoid figure was standing in front of the object a short distance from the car. Then, the headlights and engine of her car suddenly cut out.

She heard a single clicking sound and the two glowing rectangular lights appeared in front of the vehicle. A few moments later, a suddenly electrical-like charge went through her and she blacked out.

The next thing she was aware of was a sudden sound like a gun being fired and the feeling that something had crashed into her car. Then she heard a voice exclaiming, “Oh, we have killed her!”

She scanned her surroundings and realized she was still sitting in the car in the driver’s seat. She turned toward the outside rear window and realized it was somehow missing. It was as she attempted to turn further that she realized she couldn’t feel her legs. She immediately panicked, even calling out for a few seconds. Then, rather bizarrely, she began to feel her lower limbs once more. Strangely, however, they were not on the driver’s side but awkwardly placed on the passenger side, as if she had been placed in the car in a hurried fashion.

It was at this point that she realized the car itself was several hundred feet away from where it was when she had blacked out, now standing near the exit of the woods. In front of her, she could see two lights once more. This time, she turned her headlights on, relieved that they now worked. When she looked into them, she could see the lights were part of a metallic vehicle, a disc-shaped one.

She remained still and watched the object for several minutes. Then, with no warning, the car’s engine suddenly turned on of its own accord. At the same time, the lights on the disc went out, and she watched as it disappeared at great speed into the distance, all without making a single sound. A second later, a shock wave rocked her car.

By the time she finally arrived home, she realized it was almost an hour later than it should have been. Even more bizarre, her pet dogs refused to come and greet her, as if they were somehow suddenly afraid of her. Although she attempted to sleep, she was unable to do so. Later that morning, after giving up on trying to rest, she suddenly had a mental recall of the events of the previous evening.

She ultimately drove back to the location where the ominous events had taken place. She discovered the track marks of her car when it had been dragged by the strange object, as well as her broken side mirror. Even stranger, the mechanic who eventually repaired the mirror remarked to her that the car had a strange magnetization to it.

Over the following weeks, Antonia began to suffer from strange, intense dreams – dreams which only served to reveal further memories of that curious night. She recalled after blacking out, for example, she awoke to find herself in a round room. It was completely dark aside from a glow that lit up the middle, although she couldn’t tell where the source of the light actually came from.

The next thing she realized she was being forced onto a strange table fashioned from bizarre metal pipes. She couldn’t see whatever presence was manipulating her, but she recalled their actions causing her intense pain. Then, she caught a glimpse of two of them. Each appeared human-like but decidedly different at the same time, and each wore the same style of a tight-fitting one-piece suit. As this was taking place, she could hear a strange mummering, as if other creatures were nearby busy speaking to each other.

She vaguely recalled being dragged back to her car and being thrown inside before the loud bang brought her to attention. She then recalled the voice claiming – in her native French – that they had killed her.

The case remains unsolved, but it is an extremely intriguing one for several different reasons. Firstly, the account contains many of the same details that can be found in other similar encounters that have taken place for decades right around the planet. Such details as waking in a circular room, the light that didn’t have a source, and of the painful procedures that were seemingly carried out. There is also the detail of whoever was behind the abduction speaking in her native French – a detail that can be found in several other French alien abduction encounters. Does this suggest a human involvement in these cases, or might the speculative extraterrestrials have simply used some kind of technology to speak the language of their victim?

Bizarre Sighting During Astronomy Bootcamp

Around 18 months later, at around 11 pm on 30th July 1978 at a farm just outside Nyons an equally intriguing encounter unfolded, an account that comes to us from the research files of Jean-Paul Ronecker. On the evening in question, three teenagers – two boys and a girl – were taking part in an astronomy boot camp vacation in the mountainous areas of the region. As the rest of the group was not due to arrive until the following morning, and the fact that the hosting family had already turned in for the night, the three teenagers were the only ones outside watching the skies on this particular evening.

It was as they were doing so that they noticed a strange rhombus-shaped object that appeared to be glowing hovering over a wood a short distance away. After observing it for several moments, the trio decided to get a little closer to it and promptly set out toward the woods. However, before they could reach the area the object was hovering over, it suddenly disappeared right before their eyes.

They contemplated whether it had perhaps landed in the woodland. They briefly searched for the object but realizing they could hardly see in the dark of the night they quickly gave up and made their way to the house where they were staying. The next day, however, they returned to the area where they had witnessed the object. This time in daylight, they made their way to a clearing in the woodland.

They recalled that as soon as they entered the clearing, they could see “a large yellowed and hardened grass circle” which they estimated was around 15 feet across. To begin with, the owner of the farmhouse where they staying offered that the circle could have been made by his sheep, even pointing out other similar circular patches of grass in other fields. However, the three teenagers were certain there was something distinctly different about this patch in the woods, noting that this circular patch had a “burned, dry, and friable” look to it.

The three teenagers would return to the wood the following day. And while they didn’t discover anything new in the clearing, one of them was certain they saw a short humanoid figure wearing silver clothing watching them from the trees. They put the potential sighting to the back of their minds and went on to explore a quarry on the other side of the woods. As they returned to the farmhouse after doing so, however, the strange events continued.

They heard a noise coming from the woodland by the road as if someone was walking close by. At first, they thought it was another member of their group, and continued on their way. However, when the noise persisted, they came to a stop and listened a little more intently. They could tell that whatever was making the noise, it was getting closer to them. They stood and waited. Despite the noise continuing to approach them, nothing emerged out of the woods.

This non-appearance caused the trio’s anxiety to rise slightly, leaving them completely perplexed as to what was making the noise and why they couldn’t see them. They took several steps backward away from the woodland and then stopped. They noticed immediately that the sound of footsteps they had been listening to stopped also, at least temporarily. After several seconds, they started once more.

Unable to see what was causing the sounds of footsteps seemingly heading toward them, the three teenagers became increasingly spooked, and eventually turned around and ran as fast as they could.

France Is One Of Several UFO Hotspots Around The World

France, like several other countries around the world, has had a reasonably persistent UFO presence in its skies since the start of the Modern UFO era, with a great many other potential encounters that stretch back hundreds of years into history.

Just what makes France a UFO hotspot of sorts is open to debate. However, the kinds of sightings we have examined here continue to happen today, with regular reports of anomalous aerial objects being reported well into the twenty-first century. Is this due to a particular interest in this location by these alleged alien entities? Or might these sightings suggest some kind of military operation that is, for reasons unknown, concentrated in this part of the world?

The fact is, these encounters remain unexplained still today, half a century after they occurred. Whether any further information comes forth in any of the incidents we have examined here remains to be seen. However, continued study of them not only keeps such encounters in the public consciousness, but allows us to spot possible connections in sightings that have yet to be reported, and so, ultimately, offering the possibility of shining an increasing brighter light into the dark corners of the UFO and alien question.

The short video below looks at France and UFOs.


1   Flying Saucer Review Case Histories Supplement, 14 April 1973, pp. 13-15.

Marcus Lowth

Marcus Lowth is a writer with a love for UFOs, aliens, and the Ancient Astronaut Theory, to the paranormal, general conspiracies, and unsolved mysteries. He has been writing and researching with over 20 years of experience.

Marcus has been Editor-in-Chief for several years due to his excellent knowledge in these fields. Marcus also regularly appears as an expert on radio talk shows including Troubled Minds and Unexplained Radio discussing these topics.

Read Marcus' full bio.

You can contact Marcus via email.

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1 Comment

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  • Mark A Dobuzinsky says:

    I have heard of these stories for many years, I’m 69. Why isn’t there any real proof? Why has a news organization have positive pictures,interviews?
    Tell me how the government if they do have any real proof that the men who come and take away the proof and leave without a trace?
    Then people say that the government knows how is that possible you know that they cannot keep a secret maybe 2 people, but not the whole government for so many years. Please answer these questions.

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